Hiya Folks. My name is Mark, and I'm Giuseppi's baby brother that he picks on so incessantly in this blog. No wonder I'm scarred for life. Notwithstanding those years of torment, Joe deigned to let post here occasionally (thanks, Joe!), so I'll sometimes add a word or two when something sparks a thought (a rare occurrence for me, I'm afraid).
Now, without further ado, my thoughts on our grandfather.
Our mom's parents (i.e., Grandpa and his wife) divorced when our mother was pretty young, so Grandpa raised her (and her two brothers) all by himself. Woodworking, driving truck, whatever it took to provide for his family. And he still took the time to teach them important life skills (like cooking (aside: yes, in this family, it's ALL about food)) and life lessons. You don't hear a lot of stories about single dads raising families by themselves, but Grandpa was one who pulled it off.
Like Joe said, he loved working with his hands. He had a workshop like you wouldn't believe. Some people complain about garages being used for things other than parking cars. Well, Grandpa took it to a whole other level. He actually sealed off the garage (as in, used bricks and mortar to create a wall that matched the outside of the house) and made it into a full-blown woodworking workshop. Table saws, belt sanders, and more hand tools than you could count. I don't even know the names of all the tools he had. (And if I'M willing to admit I don't know something, then it MUST be pretty special.)
Like I said, Grandpa raised two sons and a daughter (our mother). Two other guys also looked up to him as if he were their father. One was his grandson, Bryan (our cousin). The other is our father. Many times after our dad finishes some handyman project around the house (or our summer place), he'll tell us, "You know who showed me that trick? Grandpa." He was a wizard with his tools, and always willing to teach. He wasn't perfect, by any stretch, but I put him on a higher pedestal than most others I know or know of.
Joe called Grandpa a hero. I agree. His wartime feats are a big part of that (though he never really talked about them; that just wasn't his way). He came away with a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star, at least. There are probably more I can't remember. But for me, his hard work and his loving self-sacrifice are just as heroic. Not many people can claim true fatherhood over four sons and a daughter. Grandpa could. I love and miss him still.